Dan M. Bechter and Christine Chmura
Some observers contend that manufacturing activity in rural areas has been more adversely affected than in urban areas by foreign competition. It is true, of course, that the economies of some rural areas have been devastated by closing of key manufacturing plants. Even if plant closings were distributed randomly among rural and urban areas, however, some rural areas (as well as some urban areas) would suffer greatly because of their "company town" character. We found little empirical support in the literature for the claim that rural areas on average suffered disproportionately from foreign competition. But we did find two studies indicating that manufacturing employment in non-metropolitan areas had fared as well or better than in metropolitan areas.